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Neolane – icing on Adobe’s Marketing Cloud cake?



Last week’s announcement that Adobe has signed a letter of intent to buy Neolane for some $600 million in an all-cash transaction cannot come as a surprise to anybody, or at least not that many. The chatter on the topic amplified after this year’s Adobe Summit, shifting to be more about the “who” and “when”, rather than “will” they acquire a marketing automation platform (MAP) to fill the obvious voids in their Marketing Cloud solution.

Even the “who” became less of a question mark after announced its acquisition of ExactTarget earlier in June. Really, who else was left to consider – Marketo?  Since their IPO price of $13 per share is the lowest the stock has been since going public, it is not too surprising they are holding out on anybody courting them, and perhaps was seen as too expensive for the gap Adobe was looking to fill.

While Neolane may not be the sexiest of MAPs out there, it is functional and offers the key elements that Adobe is currently missing in their Marketing suite. Core competencies for Neolane include segmenting and profiling, strong data integration with systems of record such as Oracle and SAP, as well as campaign execution, and most importantly, the ability to create and maintain a master marketing record for each client. The latter being the primary hole that needed to be filled for Adobe.

A win-win for both companies

For Adobe, Neolane may be the icing on their Marketing Cloud cake that some marketers have been waiting for. Neolane will be the sixth component in Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. With its strengths in automated nurturing streams, ability to leverage social data, and built-in marketing resource management, marketers will be hoping that Adobe’s commitment to integrate this new feature set in with the other five components  comes to fruition, and quickly.

For Neolane, who have been doing well, with nods such as being listed on Forbes 2013 Most Promising Companies, named a Boston Business Journal’s (BBJ) 2013 Pacesetter, and placed as a Leader and Visionary in the 2012 Wave and Quadrant respectively, this acquisition is a great way to get their solution out of the SMB quagmire and into the enterprise foray, something they have been challenged to do thus far. And their highly function-focused UI could definitely benefit from an Adobe makeover.

Its significance, not size that matters

While the size of this deal isn’t in the same league as SFDC’s purchase of ExactTarget for $2.5B, it is still a significant move. It is another tick box checked off in Adobe’s buying spree of tech solutions after the fortune spent on Omniture, Auditude and Efficient Frontier to round out their solution suites. And clearly shows their continued commitment to, and pursuit of, being the leader in providing technology focused on changing the world through digital experiences.


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